Adobe recently announced the release of version 1.0 of their AIR application platform. I have been using the Pownce client which is an application written for AIR. I decided to take a look at what else was available.

Adobe has a list of applications on the AIR Marketplace portion of their web site and I noticed that there are three twitter clients built on the AIR platform; Spaz, tweetr, and twhirl. This is not a review of these but my personal opinions of each after trying them out for about an hour.

Downloading and installing an AIR application is VERY easy but first you will need the AIR runtime. I installed the 1.0 version and then clicked the link for each client and accepted to install the .air package into my AIR runtime.

Spaz, an open source project, appears to be the least stable of the three twitter clients.

The application crashed at least three times. But that also proved the stability of the AIR platform since the crashing app did not bring down the other twitter clients that I was running simultaneously.

Feature wise twhirl and Spaz are about the same and are more feature rich than tweetr. Both Spaz and twhirl have clickables to mark a tweet as a favourite or to do @replies or direct communications. This feature is lacking in tweetr. Also, Spaz and twhirl are "skinnable", although twhirl does this better than Spaz.

tweetr was the least feature rich of the three and is more of a front end that replicates the functionality of the twitter web page.

The screen shots are from my MacBook but I also ran all three clients on a MacBook. The look and feel was exactly the same. I guess that is one good things going for Adobe with the AIR platform. Users can expect consistency in the GUI and developers can code once run anywhere. Now where have I heard that before?

I plan to keep twhirl as my twitter client on both OS X and Windows. I have already removed Spaz. It crashed too often to be useful. Too bad, because aesthetically speaking I found it the most pleasing of the three clients.

NOTE: My apologies to the Spaz team. To make the screen shots look the same I opened multiple client connections to twitter and caused the error above to appear. If I had bothered to read it then I would have known what the issue. Since this is the only issue I had with Spaz, I have since re-installed it and I Spaz is now my favourite twitter client.

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